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Kaiser Permanente Provides Seed Funding to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement's New Open School for Health Professions

OAKLAND, Calif., Jan. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Kaiser Permanente announced today that it will provide funding of $750,000, to be distributed over three years, to sponsor the IHI Open School for Health Professions, an initiative of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

Funding for the new IHI Open School demonstrates Kaiser Permanente's shared commitment with IHI to assure safe, quality and effective health care.

"I am proud of the fact that over the years, Kaiser Permanente has contributed to quality improvement and safety training for hundreds of physicians and clinical support staff. With this partnership, we now have the opportunity to teach these skills to students from the beginning of their professional careers," said Ray Baxter, senior vice president, Community Benefit, Research and Health Policy, Kaiser Permanente.

"Kaiser Permanente has in so many ways set the standard for quality across the entire health care spectrum," said Don Berwick, president and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. "They know how crucial it is to our future that young health professionals master the skills and knowledge they will need to help lead the continual improvement of care. I am deeply grateful that Kaiser Permanente has generously stepped forward as a key program founder for the Open School."

Created in September 2008, the IHI Open School would have, in its first year, 9,000 registered students attending online classes from 25 states in the United States, and from 10 countries worldwide, including India, Scotland, England, and Sweden. The school's novel program offers free, virtual training and course work in quality improvement and patient safety that are taught by world-renowned faculty. Although no prerequisites or tuition will be required, health professional students will participate in a rigorous, structured, web-based learning environment.

Through the school's international network of campus and health system chapters, students will connect with like-minded students and faculty -- both in person and online. Rather than using traditional institutional learning methods, students interact through learning portals across the World Wide Web, interface with faculty as necessary, and engage in problem solving through real-life health care scenarios. They utilize the harnessed knowledge of a virtual classroom filled with "classmates" armed with performance improvement methodologies and coaching.

About the Institute for Healthcare Improvement

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement is a not-for-profit organization leading the improvement of health care through out the world. Founded in 1991 and based in Cambridge, MA, IHI is a catalyst for change, cultivating innovative concepts for improving patient care and implementing programs for putting those ideas into action. Thousands of health care providers, including many of the finest hospitals in the world, participate in IHI's groundbreaking work.

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is America's leading integrated health care delivery system. Founded in 1945, it is a group practice prepayment program headquartered in Oakland, California. Kaiser Permanente serves the health care needs of 8.6 million members in nine states and the District of Columbia. It encompasses the not-for-profit Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and their subsidiaries, and the Permanente Medical Groups. Nationwide, Kaiser Permanente includes approximately 165,000 technical, administrative and clerical employees and caregivers, and more than 14,000 physicians representing all specialties. The system's Labor Management Partnership is the largest health care labor-management partnership in the United States. It governs how workers, managers, physicians and dentists work together to make Kaiser Permanente the best place to receive care, and the best place to work. In 2007, Kaiser Permanente proudly directed an estimated $1 billion to support community benefit programs and services through research, community-based health partnerships, and direct health coverage for low-income families and collaboration with community clinics, health departments and public hospitals. For more Kaiser Permanente news, visit the Kaiser Permanente News Center at:

SOURCE Kaiser Permanente
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